A group of 17 climbers have embarked on a journey to summit Africa’s highest peak to honour Nelson Mandela’s legacy.
The 2019 Trek4Mandela Expedition team received a warm send-off from OR Tambo international airport on Saturday morning. South Africa rapper ProVerb led the proceedings, which were attended by Gauteng MEC for Education and Youth Development Panyaza Lesufi. Learners from the Winnie Mandela High School sent the team off in song.
The team is expected to summit Mount Kilimanjaro on Thursday July 18, Madiba’s birthday, to celebrate 10 years of Nelson Mandela International Day.
In a statement, the Nelson Mandela Foundation said: “The annual climb is a reminder of the gruelling obstacles that Africans face across the continent”.
The summit will mark the start of a new Mandela Day strategy by the Foundation, titled Mandela Day: The Next Chapter, for the next decade. This strategy will look to develop a network that creates sustainable impact in response to global poverty.
In its 8th year, the Trek4Mandela expeditions bring together individuals from corporate and public backgrounds who summit Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for the Imbumba Foundation’s Caring4Girls programme. The programme provides support and sanitary products for young African girls in need, with the aim of ensuring they do not miss classes due to menstruation.
The expedition was established by Imbumba Foundation’s Richard Mabaso and is led by renowned South African adventurer Sibusiso Vilane – the first black African to reach the South Pole, North Pole and the top of Mount Everest.
Vilane will be leading this expedition’s climbers which include TV personality Clement Maosa, self-published author and Miss Commonwealth 2016 finalist Aobakwe Mosime, and Rustenburg high school teacher Esther Massinga.
In 2016, racing driver Gugu Zulu died while on a Trek4Mandela expedition. Last year, his wife Letshego Zulu joined the team and planted 100 trees on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in memory of the race car driver.